I simply love reading Christmas picture books with my kids. Sometimes huge, long lists are overwhelming, so here are some of my absolute favorite picture books of the season. On my list, I start with a few religious-themed books and then branch to other parts of the Christmas tradition.

Sometimes long lists of books can be overwhelming, so here are just a handful of the best Christmas picture books for you look for.

The Christmas Story features solemn paintings by Gennady Spirin with King James Version Biblical text. I admit, the ornate illustrations may not be the kids’ favorite, but I think reading directly from scripture would be a perfect picture book for Christmas Eve gatherings!

Tomie dePaola’s The Friendly Beasts. This has always been my favorite Christmas carol, and I love how dePaola framed his picture book with three boys singing the carol. See more of my favorite Christmas carol books!

Another animal nativity book is Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell. In this minimal text story, the Gentle Ox invites the Old Dog, Stray Cat, and Small Mouse into the warm stable before Tired Donkey and the Baby Jesus join them.

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry has always been a favorite of mine. I love Carol Heyer’s adaptation, which eliminates some of the wordiness as well as providing a lovely, realistic, version of the story.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clark Moore is also a favorite classic of mine. I like the Ruth Sanderson, Jan Brett, and Mary Engelbreit versions.

For me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. I have fond memories of reading with my grandpa, as well as my more immediate family.

The Caldecott-winning illustrations of The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, are only part of the magic of this Christmas story. The boy’s story is an adventure-filled reminder to keep believing.

The Nutcracker by Michael Hague brings the story to life, basing his retelling on the E.T.A. Hoffman 1800′s story as well as the ballet.

There are a ton more favorites on my list, but these are the main ones. If you don’t know where to start in building your Christmas picture book library, these would be a nice bet! What picture books are you favorites for Christmas?

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Here's a short list of some of the best Christmas picture books. If you're starting out a Christmas picture book library, these are the books you'll want to start reading.

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